Michael, in his own words: “When I was seven or eight years old my parents built one of the first homes in a new subdivision in Oklahoma City. I used to hide in its garage and watch the bare-chested construction workers frame newer houses through the window, positioning myself so they couldn’t see me, but so I could spy on them with my binoculars (not purchased for this purpose of course). I think that’s when I knew I had feelings that weren’t “normal” and that I shouldn’t share them with anyone else. I also loved purloining copies of my dad’s “True – The Man’s Magazine” from his nightstand and poring over the brawny men illustrated on the covers and feature stories fighting alligators and performing heroic deeds while always bare-chested. To this day, the mere words “bare-chested” elicit a rise in me.
So, I suppose the thought that I might be gay was always lurking in the back of my mind. But I didn’t call it gay or anything else for that matter. It was just my secret passion for men’s bodies. My dad, a very handsome man, had many handsome friends who gathered once a month to have “jam sessions” and play favorite big band songs popular when they fought in World War II: Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey. These were real men’s evenings where there was much drinking, non-stop smoking and language and stories not for children. But I loved seeing and hearing them and begged to be allowed to stay up a bit later once in a while to watch. On one of those special nights, my mother and I were sitting on the steps leading into our “sunken” living room listening to their stylings. I was absentmindedly stroking my eyebrow with my index finger. My mother told me to stop doing that immediately. “Why?” I asked. “Because that’s how homosexuals signal each other,” she said.
And suddenly I thought, she knows! How can she know??
Well, she didn’t really know then although she suspected later as I found out. But it was enough to make me keep my guard up for several years. So I suppressed that side of me and went off to college determined to sleep with women and have a girlfriend and I did just that. But I still couldn’t keep my eyes off the cute and often bare-chested college boys, one in particular named Gerald. Gerald had already had a boyfriend before so he was a likely target. And then one drug-drenched night at a friend’s house in the country we wandered off to get away from the psychedelic madness. Two men went into the woods and came out changed forever at dawn the next day. And it had been the most natural, delightful and satisfying experience I’d ever had. I only wondered why I’d waited so long.
I didn’t so much “come out” as just be out. Fortunately for me, it was natural and easy. I found immediate and full acceptance from friends and family as they became aware. I know it’s often a much harder path for others so I feel lucky. I’m enthralled with the changing attitudes and acceptance in our society regarding gays and same-sex marriage. It’s clear the younger generation don’t find those distinctions important or relevant any more, so that today’s younger gay generation and those who follow can just be themselves naturally.”